I’m heading up a small group of about 20 homeschooling families. We may grow a bit, but we are in a small town, so I can’t imagine we’d ever be over 40 families big.
I’ve also set up a website and Google group. This is just information and communication for any area homeschooler, not a co-op of families who attend anything. It has about 50 families and growing.
What do I need to be aware of to be sure that we don’t become the kind of organizations (either of these groups) that have to file or pay taxes. We do not collect dues. If there is a field trip with a fee, each family just pays it at that time.
It sounds as if both groups are a small gathering of like-minded people. You said you don’t even collect dues! Amazing!
If you ever do collect dues, then open a checking account in the group’s name, so the money doesn’t look like your own personal money. This might involve getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS to open a checking account.
So long as you organize and operate like a nonprofit (no profit motive and decisions made by a group of leaders not one person) and stay under $5,000 gross income per year, you will be tax exempt in the eyes of the IRS. The IRS does request that all nonprofits , even very small ones, file an annual Form 990N. It’s only 8 questions.
This checklist will keep you on track: A checklist for new homeschool organizations
Then read the following articles in order:
- What’s in a name?
- Choosing a leadership team
- Writing your mission statement
- Getting an EIN from the IRS
- Identifying who you are by writing bylaws
- Sample bylaws
- Budgeting basics
I hope that helps!
Carol Topp, CPA